December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

The first entry in the Marytrology strikes me this morning:

Commemoratio omnium sanctorum avorum Iesu Christi, filii David, filii Abraham, filii Adam, patrum scilicet, qui Deo placuerunt et iusti inventi sunt et iuxta fidem defuncti, nullis acceptis promissionibus, sed longe eas aspicientes et salutantes, ex quibus natus est Christus secundum carnem, qui est super omnia Deus benedictus in saecula. 
The commemoration of all the holy ancestors of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham, the son of Adam, namely those fathers who pleased God and were found just according to the faith of the deceased, who didn't receive the promises as fulfilled, but gazed on and hailed them from afar, from whom Christ was born according to the flesh, he who is the blessed God above all forever.

It's especially interesting as a kind of preparation for St. Matthew's genealogy in the gospel for the vigil Mass of Christmas and for the Christmas Proclamation, which is found in the Martyrology for tomorrow, but which ought to be proclaimed tonight ahead of the 'Mass during the night.'

On the morning of Christmas Eve, the Martyrology offers us a liturgical commemoration of all the ancestors of Jesus Christ, and reminds us that the Word became flesh not just in an abstract human nature, but as a historical human life in a particular place and culture with specific ancestors. To me it invites a reflection on the doctrine many of us have absorbed that culture is basically fungible, that the cultural elements of the time and place of the incarnation are ultimately accidental. More and more it seems to me that this set of assumptions impoverishes the doctrine of the incarnation.

We commemorate this morning the faith of all of those who looked forward to Jesus Christ come in the flesh, gazing on the great mystery in the obscurity of the night that preceded the first light of his birth and the full dawn of the Resurrection, the Resurrection that is the full meaning of the 'let there be light' by which the Word of God brings into being the first day of the new creation.

1 comment:

Catechist Ron said...

The most wonderful Christmas gift the world has ever received - the Word made flesh.
And He continues His gifts.

He gives us Himself in the Eucharist
He gives us His bride – the Church
And He gives us His Mother to be our Mother.